Have your artist name as French sets the bar high, something you can only hope to capture the true essence of the word ‘friendship’. Insert the indie pop duo of James Sunderland and Brett Hite, whose relationship embodies the definition of that word to a T.
With Brett describing the duo as “two boring white men making pop”, FRENSHIP arrives on the scene with its own unique sound that straddles the genres of indie pop, rock and electronics. Realized in 2013, it’s crazy to think that the two members worked at Lululemon in Santa Monica, California, before taking the step of faith to pursue their musical dreams.
It was their timeless hit “Capsize” released in 2016, which would go viral and catapult them into the mainstream light, whose music video currently has over 27 million views and counts. Fast forward to 2019, FRENSHIP unveils its first album Holidays, a 13-track project that tackles all the ups and downs of a relationship, while also detailing their love-hate relationship with their current Los Angeles home.
Most recently, FRENSHIP brought in Lauren Sanderson for their latest single and visual titled âTryâ. Flaunt virtually caught up with Brett and James, who were in Idaho and Culver City, respectively. Read below as we discuss their sound, how they met, how they got their name, their collaboration with Lauren Sanderson, new music on the horizon, and more. !
For those who don’t know, who is FRENSHIP?
Brett: Two boring white men. We are two old people who make pop. [laughs]
Jacques: I am 35 years old.
Brett: I’m 34 years old.
I am 30 years old. I feel old.
J: We feel old then. We love it, we adopted it. I’m glad we don’t have an answer to that, maybe that’s the point of it all. We want to be a lot of things. We are a group of course, being in a group is nothing new. As a band you want a long career and in that long career your tastes evolve and change. One season we might want to be this super indie cool electronic band. Another season, we might want to be a rock band. Another season, frankly pop. All of these things always show up in all the music we make. We love the idea of ââbeing multi-faceted Swiss Army knives.
How would you describe your sound?
J: It’s not really a sound, but a thoughtful pop is how I would describe us. We’re not quite seated in the middle of things, we lean a bit to the left. We’re not super cool though, maybe we’re heading towards this area. We fall for that benevolent side of pop that’s a bit more thoughtful than your standard Top 40 Pop. We can float in different genres. These are two people mixing their tastes, which inevitably creates a bunch of different sounds. I love electronic music, too. We both love pop, we both love hip-hop. There are 80s influences in there. It’s still that hybrid. It’s 40 answers so take advantage of it. [laughs] “What are you guys doing? We do everything! But we still have hybrids of organic and electronic sounds for the most part, it’s our two styles that merge.
You met while working at Lululemon in Brentwood, didn’t you?
B: They were two broke guys looking for a job. James’ story was all luxurious: “Oh, that’s the closest thing to me. I got a job.” I was applying all over town. I was living in a studio in Hollywood with two other guys, I finally got a job somewhere and it was at Lululemon in Brentwood. I drove an hour every day just to get there.
J: I walked 3 minutes down the street and worked part time when I wanted.
B: [laughs] It’s very symbolic of our relationship. We were there a lot, for a while alone. Very different paths until then, but we were a bit exhausted with what we were doing. I wasn’t happy with what James was doing, he wasn’t happy with what I was doing.
We weren’t pushed to work together right away. It was truly, for lack of a better term, a friendship. It was a lot of us hanging around. Eventually hanging out became bad for our health, as it usually involved alcohol or something. We said âlet’s try to be productive, write a songâ. We found that it seemed to work quite well. Gradually, we continued to take it a little more seriously over time. Here we take it very seriously.
Are you guys into yoga?
B: I got really interested in that while working there. I don’t do that much these days, but I would never turn away from it. I strongly believe in its benefits for body and soul.
How did the name FRENSHIP come about? I think it’s a very beautiful name.
J: Oh, that’s really sweet. You are the first person to say this. It was a joke. We had a bunch of music and needed a name at some point. I learned this little saying as a kid’s football camp coach when I was younger, they would say “There are big ships and there are small ships, but the best ship is friendship!” Maybe he learned it from a child of a friend, I don’t really remember. We got drunk and we said that, that was the mantra at the time. Finally, we needed the name, it happened. We just spelled it out because that’s what everyone was doing back then, and it sounded cool. This made it really difficult for us to search on Google. [laughs]